William Merrit Chase was an American Modern Master: an accomplished and prolific portraitist, painter of glorious Impressionist landscapes, and a dedicated teacher whose influence extends into the current century.
When offered the opportunity to study in Europe, he reportedly responded: My God, I’d rather go to Europe than go to Heaven.
On his approach to the Old Masters, he is claimed to have uttered the maxim: We are all going to heaven and Van Dyck is of the company.
From the obituary published in the New York Times shortly after his death:
Things that would have been lost he saved for us — unconscious momentary attitudes of children, swift changes of color under angles of light that became different angles in the twinkling of an eye, the rhythms of draperies swung by flickering gust of wind…. The death of William Merritt Chase removes from the ranks of American artists one whose contributions probably will receive a richer measure of applause in the next century.
Biography and work
1, to 1883
A snapshot of 1916 in paintings and painters
William Merritt Chase paints history, for a brief moment – student years in Munich
In William Merritt Chase’s Studio: insights and informal portraits
Dancer: John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and James Carroll Beckwith
City Life: 1 Eakins and Chase
City Life: 2 Henri, Cooper, and Bellows
Shinnecock summer: Chase in the country
Meet the family: Chase at home
The spontaneous or methodical: Chase and Eakins at work
Prizes, performance and still life
His colleagues and friends
Carroll Beckwith, the under-age model, and the jealous husband
Robert Henri and the Ashcan School
Frank Duveneck, silent companion
Students of Chase: his greatest legacy – an overview of 20 former students
Louise Upton Brumback (1867-1929)
George Wesley Bellows (1882–1925), up to 1914
George Wesley Bellows (1882–1925), after 1914
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), 1 experiments to 1921
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), 2 mature landscapes
Emma Lampert Cooper (1855-1920), the invisible wife
Edward Charles Volkert (1871-1935), the pastural painter
Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer (1873-1943) and Dora Wheeler Keith (1857-1940)
Charles Demuth (1883–1935), Precisionism, and flowers
Julian Onderdonk – bluebonnets and pseudonyms
Further reading, exhibitions
Books and exhibitions to celebrate his centenary
Hirshler EE (2016) William Merritt Chase, Museum of Fine Arts Boston. ISBN 978 0 87846 839 3.
Longwell AG (2014) William Merritt Chase, A Life in Art, Parrish Art Museum and D Giles. ISBN 978 1 907804 43 4.
Smithgall E et al. (2016) William Merritt Chase, A Modern Master, The Phillips Collection and Yale UP. ISBN 978 0 300 20626 5.